Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 11:16 GMT

2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Botswana

Publisher United States Department of Labor
Author Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Publication Date 27 August 2008
Cite as United States Department of Labor, 2007 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor - Botswana, 27 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48caa461c.html [accessed 26 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Selected Statistics and Indicators on Child Labor435
Working children, 5-14 years (%):
Working boys, 5-14 years (%):
Working girls, 5-14 years (%):
Working children by sector, 5-14 years (%):
     – Agriculture
     – Manufacturing
     – Services
     – Other
Minimum age for work:14
Compulsory education age:Not compulsory
Free public education:No
Gross primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:108
Net primary enrollment rate (%), 2005:86
School attendance, children 5-14 years (%):
Survival rate to grade 5 (%), 2003:90
ILO-IPEC participating country:Yes

Incidence and Nature of Child Labor

Children in Botswana work in agriculture, predominately in subsistence farming, in family businesses in the retail sector, and in the informal sector as street vendors and car washers.436 In remote areas, young children also work as domestic servants.437 Reports indicate that some children are exploited into prostitution, particularly along transit routes to South Africa.438 In addition, there are unconfirmed reports that Botswana is a country of transit for East African children trafficked into South Africa.439

Child Labor Laws and Enforcement

The law sets the minimum age for basic employment at 14 years and for hazardous work at 18 years. 440 Under the law, children not attending school who have attained the age of 14 may be employed by family members or, as approved by the Commissioner of Labor, in light work that is not harmful to their health and development for no more than 6 hours per day and 30 hours per week.441 Children, defined as those under 15 years, and young persons, defined as those between 15 and 17 years, may not be employed in underground work, night work, or any work that is harmful to their health and development.442 Children may not work more than 3 consecutive hours, and young persons no more than 4 hours, in industrial undertakings without a rest period of 30 minutes, absent the express permission of the Commissioner of Labor. The maximum penalty for illegally employing a child is imprisonment for up to 12 months and/or a fine.443

The law prohibits forced labor.444 The law does not explicitly prohibit trafficking in persons, although separate statutes make kidnapping, slave trafficking, and procuring women and girls for prostitution illegal.445 USDOS reports that law enforcement and immigration officials receive regular training on anti-trafficking methods.446 Child prostitution and pornography are criminal offenses, and "defilement" of persons less than 16 years is punishable by a 10-year minimum prison sentence.447 The law specifically protects adopted children from being exploited for labor, and orphans from being coerced into prostitution.448 Military service is voluntary and the minimum age for enlisting in the Armed Forces is 18 years.449

The Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs is tasked with enforcing child labor laws and the law authorizes the Commissioner of Labor to terminate the unlawful employment of children.450 According to USDOS, although its resources for oversight of remote areas in the country were limited, in general, the Ministry was effective.451 The child welfare divisions of the district and municipal councils are also responsible for enforcing child labor laws.452 The Government has also established an Advisory Committee on Child Labor comprised of NGOs, government agencies, and worker and employer organizations to provide oversight on child labor issues.453

Current Government Policies and Programs to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor

During the reporting period, the Government collaborated with local organizations to raise public awareness of child labor and child trafficking issues through workshops and conferences.454 The Government of Botswana is participating in a USD 5 million USDOL-funded regional child labor project in Southern Africa implemented by ILO-IPEC. Activities under this project in Botswana include research on the nature and incidence of exploitive child labor and efforts to build the capacity of the Government to address child labor issues.455 The American Institutes for Research, with the support of the Government of Botswana, are implementing another regional USDOL-funded project. This USD 9 million project aims to improve the quality and access to education for children who are working in, or are at risk of working in, the worst forms of child labor.456 Over its lifetime, the project intends to prevent 10,000 children in five countries, including Botswana, from engaging in exploitive labor.457

The government included a module on children's activities in its 2005/2006 National Labor Force Survey. The preliminary results of the survey, released in 2007, have helped identify the extent and location of child labor in Botswana.458


435 For statistical data not cited here, see the Data Sources and Definitions section. For data on ratifications and ILO-IPEC membership, see the Executive Summary. For minimum age for admission to work, age to which education is compulsory, and free public education, see Government of Botswana, Employment Act, 29, (1982), article 107; available from http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/842/64792/E82BWA01.htm. See also U.S. Department of State, "Botswana," in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2007, Washington, DC, March 11, 2008, section 5; available from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2007/100467.htm. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 8.

436 Government of Botswana, Preliminary 2005/2006 Labour Force Survey Results, Gaborone, November 2006; available from http://www.cso.gov.bw/html/labour/Stats_brief%20Nov%2030%202006.pdf. See also Eva Procek, Discussion Document on Child Labor in Botswana, Botswana Ministry of Labor and Social Security, International Labor Organization (ILO) and Programme Towards the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor (TECL), October 2006, section 8. See also Duma Gideon Boko, Scoping Study on Child Labour in Botswana, Dawie Bosch and Associates, Pretoria, August 2003, chapter 4.

437 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, para 13.

438 Procek, Discussion Document on Child Labor in Botswana, section 3. See also Iwani Mothobi-Tapela, A Rapid Assessment of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Botswana, Botswana Ministry of Labor and Social Security, International Labor Organization (ILO) and Programme Towards the Elimination of the Worst forms of Child Labor (TECL), July 2007, 39. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 5.

439 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 5. See also ECPAT International CSEC Database, Botswana, accessed November 20, 2007; available from http://www.ecpat.net.

440 Government of Botswana, Employment Act, article 107. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 2.

441 Government of Botswana, Employment Act, article 107. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 2.

442 Government of Botswana, Employment Act, articles 108-109. See also Duma Gideon Boko, Scoping Study on Child Labour in Botswana, 12. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 2.

443 Government of Botswana, Employment Act, articles 111, 172. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, December 5, 2006, para 2, 4.

444 Government of Botswana, Employment Act, article 71. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 3.

445 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 5. See also Government of Botswana, Children's Act, 5, (1981), chapter IV; available from http://www.laws.gov.bw/Docs/Principal/Volume3/Chapter28/Chpt28-04%20Children%27s.pdf.

446 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, February 26, 2008, para 29i.

447 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 5. See also Government of Botswana, "Botswana," in Legislation of Interpol Member States on Sexual Offences Against Children, 2006; available from http://www.interpol.int/Public/Children/SexualAbuse/NationalLaws/csaBotswana.asp.

448 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 6d. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 5.

449 Government of Botswana, Botswana Defence Force, 23, (1977), article 17; available from http://www.laws.gov.bw/Docs/Principal/Volume3/Chapter21/Chpt21-05%20Botswana%20Defence%20Force.pdf.

450 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 4. See also U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 6d. See also Government of Botswana, Employment Act, article 113.

451 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 6d.

452 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 4.

453 U.S. Department of State, "Country Reports – 2007: Botswana," section 6d.

454 Ibid. See also U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, February 26, 2008.

455 ILO-IPEC, Supporting the Timebound Programme to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labour in South Africa's Child Labour Action Programme and Laying the Basis for Concerted Action Against Worst Forms of Child Labour in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, project document, Geneva, September, 2003.

456 American Institutes for Research, Reducing Exploitive Child Labor Southern Africa (RECLISA), project document, Washington, DC, September 8, 2005, 17-18.

457 Ibid., 19.

458 U.S. Embassy – Gaborone, reporting, November 29, 2007, para 13. See also Government of Botswana, Preliminary 2005/2006 Labour Force Survey Results.

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